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For the week of January 31 through February 6, 2001

Leaping lizards, Moxie shows some spunk

Suddenly, Carrie Wessonís terrier has gottalotta ribbons

Express Staff Writer

Gottalotta ribbons.

Thatís the claim to fame for a local dog show winner named Gottalotta Moxie.

Carrie Wesson and her Jack Russell Terrier named Gottalotta Moxie take a break from training at their Bellevue home. Express photo by Laura Cordes


The two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier competed in a show at St. Paul, Minn. during the first weekend of January.

Moxie, owned by Carrie Wesson of Bellevue, had a perfect score on the first day of competition. She scored high enough on the third day to achieve the title Novice Agility.

Not bad for a dog first introduced to agility competition less than a year ago. And certainly not bad for a dog that first competed in November.

Agility training with Moxie. Or, "up the rampÖ..". Courtesy photo


Wesson laughs when remembering Moxieís first taste of agility competition.

Wesson had wanted to do something with Moxie other than just taking her for walks, so in March of last year, she signed up for a "Leaping Lizards" class at the Sawtooth Animal Center in Bellevue.

However Moxie, just a year old at the time, didnít take to the agility skills.

"She was the worst in the class," Wesson said. "Everyone else was doing really well and there was a dog show in August that everyone was talking about. But they didnít even ask me about it because Moxie just couldnít do it."

Moxie persevered, aided by the determination of Wesson.

"and down the ramp." Bone, please. Courtesy photo



In July, Wesson said it just clicked for Moxie and the ball started rolling from there. Three months later, Wesson entered Moxie in her first official agility competition at Idaho Falls.

Dog shows consist of three types of competition: confirmation, obedience and agility.

Agility competition is a timed event in which a dog must successfully complete a series of obstacles. The dogís owner is given a map of the course beforehand, and must lead the dog through the various obstacles during the event.

Every dog receives 100 points at the beginning of the event, and then the judge deducts points for faults, such as missing an obstacle.

In agility competition, a dog must get 85 points or more to get a "qualifying score." When a dog receives three qualifying scores, it earns a title. Novice Agility is the first title, followed by Open and finally Excellence. Excellence is the highest title a dog can receive.

During her first show in November, Moxie surprised Wesson by receiving her first qualifying score. Amazingly, it made Moxie the only dog from her "Leaping Lizards" class to win at a dog show.

"We wanted to do well," Wesson said. "Just the idea of getting her out there was enough. I knew she was goodóI just didnít know how good."

From Jan. 5-7, Wesson and Moxie traveled to Minnesota to compete in the LandíOíLakes Kennel Club dog show. Some 800 dogs competed in agility. The competition was set up according to height and Moxie competed only against other dogs in her 12-inch category.

"It was the first time being in a show that big, so I didnít know what would happen," Wesson said. "But it was so much fun, and Iím just glad that we finished."

On the first day, Moxie reached the ultimate, a perfect score of 100 points, giving her a first-place ribbon for the day. After being disqualified on the second day, Moxie received another qualifying score on the last day of competition to give her the title of Novice Agility.

While Wesson is unsure which dog show they will tackle next, she will continue to enjoy training with Moxie once or twice a week at a nearby facility with agility equipment.

"Agility is hard word," Wesson said. "Itís very physical for you and your dog, but itís a lot of fun. And if you really like your dog and want to spend time with it, then itís a great thing to do."


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